The U.S. has for decades co-headed the OSCE Minsk Group together with France and Russia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier this month that Washington and Paris have stopped cooperating with Moscow because of the war in Ukraine. U.S. and French officials have not denied that.
During their separate meetings with the visiting U.S. mediator, Andrew Schofer, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan reportedly “emphasized the role of the co-presidency of the OSCE Minsk Group” in the long-running efforts to settle the Karabakh conflict.
The Armenian government’s press office cited Pashinian as telling Schofer that the U.S., Russian and French diplomats should mediate upcoming negotiations on a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Moscow signaled late last week that it will act alone in mediating those talks. It said that Igor Khovaev, the Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, will now work as Lavrov’s special envoy on “fostering the normalization of relations” between the two South Caucasus states.
The issue is expected to be high on the agenda of Pashinian’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for Tuesday. The Armenian premier will fly to Moscow on an official visit.
The U.S. State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said last Thursday that Washington “stands ready to engage bilaterally and with likeminded partners” to help Armenia and Azerbaijan reach a comprehensive peace deal.
“I can’t speak to the role that Russia might play in this,” Price told reporters when asked whether the U.S. is indeed avoiding joint mediation efforts with Russia.